The signing of Tony Popovic is a statement of intent from Perth Glory. (AAP Image: Dean Lewins)
The signing of Tony Popovic is a statement of intent Perth Glory is no longer willing to tolerate mediocrity.
Results under Kenny Lowe weren’t bad, but the club fell short of finals last season and it cost Lowe his position as coach after four years in charge.
He fell short of leading the club to its first piece of A-League silverware.
The appointment of Popovic is the start of a new era.
Popovic, a decorated former Socceroos defender, has proven his coaching credentials having led Western Sydney Wanderers to the A-League title in 2012-13 and two subsequent second-placed finishes in 2013-14 and 2015-16.
Tony Popovic has an A-League title and an Asian Champions League triumph under his belt. (AAP Image: Julian Smith)
The Wanderers also became the first Australian club to win the Asian Champions League under Popovic’s guidance in 2013-14.
A stint in Turkey’s top division coaching Karabukspor didn’t work out and now he signed a three-year deal with Perth Glory.
“I have accepted this job knowing the landscape, knowing where the club has been and knowing we want to take the club,” Popovic told the ABC.
“There is a short-, medium- and long-term goal and each week, each month and each season we will grow this football club.
“The potential that is here is quite evident to everyone.
“The fans are passionate. I have witnessed that and experience that myself being on the opposing bench.”
Club is aiming high after Lowe
Some players had become frustrated with aspects of the culture within the Glory.
Kenny Lowe was a good man manager, but fell short when it came to demanding excellence and the highest standards from his players.
Kenny Lowe will move in to a youth coaching role after being axed as Glory head coach. (AAP: Will Russell)
Popovic is astute tactically and wants his players to reach their potential on and off the pitch.
He is a clear thinker and communicator who is demanding and will not compromise when it comes to professionalism. Players know exactly where they stand with him, and if they don’t meet the standard set they won’t be in the first team.
“We want to try and take the club to another level, try and get that consistency where the club is making their members and their fans proud on a regular basis, where they are challenging for honours,” Popovic said.
“At the moment we know what we want to achieve and that is the easy part.
“Now the hard work begins.”
Lowe will still be around the club in a role with the youth academy. It is a unique situation where a long-serving coach will still be employed when the new one comes in.
“It won’t be an issue for me whatsoever,” Popovic said.
“I haven’t had a chance to speak with him or see him yet. I am sure we will catch up. From my point of view there will be no issue.”
Popovic’s first game in charge of Perth will be the friendly against Chelsea at Perth Stadium in July.
“It is a nice way to start this new journey, this new project that we are trying to build here,” he said.